The Role of Cybersecurity as a Guide in Protecting Election Integrity on Social Media Platforms



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A common refrain in the past few years has been that the 2016 U.S. presidential election was “hacked” and that elections, in general, are “hackable.” Election infrastructure, systems utilized by political entities, and the minds of the voting public can all be attacked in some way, compromising election integrity. Cybersecurity plays a direct role in protecting the first two of the three only, as those concern virtual and physical infrastructure. Cybersecurity can play an indirect role in protecting the third (which does not concern virtual or physical infrastructure) by serving as a guide for how we approach the problem of misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda on social media platforms. However, we must be aware that there are multiple ways of approaching the problem, and not all cybersecurity-based approaches are prudent. The focus should not be on content itself but rather the actors behind them and, even more importantly, the behaviors they engage in.



Election security, Cybersecurity, Social media, Fake news, Misinformation, Disinformation